The species is thought to be endemic to the Forêt d'Ambre Special Reserve in the extreme north of Madagascar. It is currently known from a single, small location, but may occur more widely - possibly to the lower limits of the Montagne d'Ambre National Park (D'Cruze et al., 2010). It has been recorded from 482m asl and its extent of occurrence (EOO) is 48 km2.
Habitat and Ecology
This species inhabits lowland transitional rainforest. Males were found calling from the ground in the leaf litter and the holotype was found calling from a burrow below a thick patch of leaf litter close to the base of a small tree, and other individuals were excavated from similar situations (D'Cruze et al., 2010). It is likely to have non-feeding tadpoles and the development of juveniles probably takes place in burrows in the soil with some degree of parental care, as observed in R. testudo (Köhler et al., 1997).
Individuals were found to be abundant at the type locality in 2008, but due to its fossorial behaviour it can be difficult to find (D'Cruze et al., 2010). Due to ongoing decline in the extent and quality of habitat, the population is suspected to be decreasing.
This species' forest habitat has been heavily altered by human activities and continues to be at risk from deforestation caused by agricultural clearance (for banana, coffee, khat, maize, papaya, and rice cultivation), charcoal production, timber production, small-scale quarrying and zebu grazing.
This species occurs in Forêt d'Ambre Special Reserve.
Immediate conservation management action is required to protect the biological diversity found within the Forêt d'Ambre Special Reserve.
Further research is required to better understand the species' population size, distribution and trends.
Red List Status
Critically Endangered (CR)
Listed as Critically Endangered because its extent of occurrence (EOO) is 48 km2, all individuals are known from one threat-defined location, and there is ongoing decline in the quality and extent of its habitat.
The sister species of Rhombophryne testudo according to the original publication (Frost 2013).
IUCN SSC Amphibian Specialist Group 2016. Plethodontohyla matavy. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T49581455A49581473. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-1.RLTS.T49581455A49581473.en .Downloaded on 23 January 2019